Fort Lewis College:
Cultural Reference on San Juan Area - Center of Southwest Studies
White Pages – Vallecito:
A Link to DNA of Long Ago:
Powderham, One of several castles owned by
Earl of Devon, Marquis of Exeter,
Baron and High Sheriff
of Okehampton, and
built by Sir Philip Courtenay in the 30 years 1390-1420 A.D.
Still home of Courtenay, Earl of Devon,
over 600 years.
since the 1100’s, including
Okehampton Castle, destroyed by conflict,
In the late 1200's,
and the shire of Derby were ruled by Eleanor Courtenay, and her husband Baron
Henry de Grey of Codnor.
During the 1300’s, in addition to the castles, more than eight manors and two shires
(states) were owned and ruled by the Courtenay nobility.
This was increased, for
a period, by the appointment as
Duke of Cornwall.
It was Muriel Courtenay's daughter's marriage with the Baron of Hastings that
brought Hastings Castle,
founded in 1066 by William the Conqueror.
In 1442, Sir Hugh "Le Fitz" Courtenay,
through marriage, acquired land in three shires and 6 more manors, including
and was ruler of Haccombe,
in addition to Devon
October 26th, 1485, Sir Edward Courtenay was knighted by the new King Henry VII,
for help in battle to dethrone the murderous Richard III. Richard had deposed
and killed the young King Edward V and his brother, the Duke of York, and
executed the Duke of Buckingham, while taking the Courtenay lands.
Sir Edward was returned the Earldom of Devon,
land of the entire shire (state) with over 60 manors, 8 boroughs (towns), 9
Hundreds (country subdivisions with courts), plus, the entire
of his father, land and manors in Devon,
Compared to our country and population today:
The Courtenay ruling power and properties,
in England alone,
would be equivalent to
owning and governing
all of Oklahoma, part of Texas and Missouri, plus
eight cities of Oklahoma City,
Tulsa, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, St. Louis, and Kansas City, plus
70 multi-million-dollar mansions and five castles!
( The only person who exceeded the Earl or
Baron in authority was the King or Queen, or Archbishop, in some matters.)
ownership and power
we have seen in this continent to approximate that of
in relative percentage of land area and population,
is that of the Spanish territory of the southwestern U.S., and the French
possession of the Louisiana Purchase.
Courtenay family -
family of "King-makers" in Europe since
King Hugh the Great, in 987 A.D.,
King Louis VI, and
the very first Courtenay,
Sire Athon de Courtenay
(985 - 1030 A.D.),
who invented the last name in 1010 A.D.
as he fortified Courtenay, France for his castle
in the Monarchy's Isle de France.
Over 1,000 years as Royalty, Nobility, Knights, Bishops,
Oxford Chancellors, High Sheriff
leaders of men and countries -
Jerusalem & Edessa (Iraq)
during the Crusades,
Courtenay - France
Three torteaux or roundels
Courtenay was descended from Louis VI, King of France in the 12th
They were the next branch of the
Migration to England was with Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152
she married King Henry II,
and brought English rule to her third of France, including Calais and Bordeaux.
Renaud de Courtenay became the Lord of
the largest in Devon, after marrying Hawise de Courcy, whose grandfather Baldwin
de Brionne, a general for William the Conqueror, founded the castle, c. 1066.
Courtenay - England
Quarterly 1 & 4 Or three torteaux 2 & 3 Gules a lion
rampant or Impaling Gules powdered with billets or a saltire vair – Courtenay
quartering de Redvers impaling Champernowne.
English Courtenay marriages included with:
Prince Peter I of France,
Margaret de Bohun, granddaughter of King Edward I
daughter of Humphrey VIII, Earl of Hereford and Essex,
Eleanor de Spencer,
granddaughter of King Edward I,
Princess Elizabeth Plantagenet,
daughter of King Edward III, and with
Princess Catherine Plantagenet,
daughter of King Edward IV.
Marguerite I Capet, Phillipe II d'Evreux, King of Navarre, King Louis XVII,
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Lady Diana, and HRH Prince William,
are all descendants of Amice de Courtenay (1250-1275 A.D.),
Heiress of Conches.
William Courtenay studied Law & served as
Chancellor of Oxford University,
of Canterbury (1381).
warlike period, Sir Hugh Courtenay II (1327-1349) was armed for his rank at the
age of fifteen.
Sir Hugh was the great-grandson of King Edward I, and the grandson of Princess
He was a young man of extreme personal courage and adroitness in the tilting
hence his election as a founding member, with King Edward III and the Prince,
Noble Order of the Garter when he was only 18 years old.
Sir Hugh Courtenay attended the King in his expedition against France in 1346,
with his uncle Sir William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, and returned to
Eltham Palace in Surrey,
to excel at the jousting tournaments, and receive special awards from the King,
in 1347. *
Sir Peter Courtenay
(1349-1409), Sir Hugh's younger brother, was also a Knight
Noble Order of the Garter,
limited to only 33 in all the country.
During the English campaign to restore King Pedro to the throne of Castile &
Peter received knighthood - at the same time with his brother, Sir Philip, and
his nephew, Sir Hugh -
from Edward, the
at Vittoria, before the Battle of Najara in 1367.
Sir Peter was renowned as far as King Charles VI in France for his prowess on the field of combat and in
having soundly beaten a celebrated French Knight, Guy de la Tremouille, in 1383.
In 1388, he was appointed
In 1398, Sir Peter was appointed by King Richard II as the
Captain of Calais,
after the Earl of Nottingham,
England's only remaining control of southwestern France during the Hundred Years
Later, Lord Peter Courtenay became, at King Richard's request,
Constable of the Royal Windsor Castle
He was granted additional lands by King Henry IV, and nominated to the
The valiant Knight and leader died in 1409, and was honored by burial in St.
in Exeter of Devonshire.
Since he was without children, Sir Peter's nephew Hugh became the 3rd Earl of
Emperor of Constantinople, Edessa & Jerusalem
(Edessa was on both sides of the
Euphrates River in Iraq.)
After commanding armies from France, Sire Pierre I de Courtenay
of Conches (1126-1183) & Prince of France,
grandson of King Louis I, great-grandson of King Philip I, and
great-great-grandson of King Henry I Capet
of France, was
over the Turkish Empire and the Middle East during the Crusades,
and was awarded a second
coat of arms with the rule.
His Empress was Yolande of Flanders.
Their daughter Yolande was
daughter Amice was Heiress of Conches,
and their son, Baudouin, succeeded him as
This, with France and England, represented the third branch of the Courtenay
realm of power and property, encompassing a large part of the known world,
at that time.
George Frederick Beltz's
"Memorials of the Most Noble Order of the Garter" (1861).
"A Genealogical History of the Noble and
Illustrious Family of Courtenay"
by Ezra Cleaveland.
** By the late fourteenth century the
was one of the five main officers of the Royal
along with the Chancellor,
the Treasurer, the
Keeper of the Privy Seal, and the
Eltham Palace, where Sir Hugh
Courtenay jousted as a foremost Knight of the Realm,
to receive honours from the King & Queen.
It was at Eltham where Sir Hugh, at only 20,
was presented a special white hood,
encrusted with large pearls, by the King.
After Sir Hugh died an untimely death at 22,
Queen Philippa visited his tomb at Ford Abbey
September 1, 1349,
and laid a special cloth of gold as a tribute.
is a royal medieval
stone fortress, with a strong rectangular moat.
The Great Hall was built for King Edward IV as a dining hall for the court.
Eight miles north-west is
The Tower of London.
Courtneys came to
the New World in the 1600's,
37 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth
sailing from the Port of Plymouth in
with Sir Walter Raleigh,
and on the famous warship "The Golden Hinde" with Sir Francis
Both were born and lived in
The Courtenay family and Earl of Devon were supportive of Sir Walter Raleigh's efforts
to establish a first colony, of 100, to create what was later known as North Carolina.
When the colony got into a deadly crisis, it was Sir Francis Drake who rescued
them one year later.
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Francis Drake, circa 1577
On Sir Francis
Drake's secret exploratory voyage to Vancouver Island in 1579,
under the sponsorship and order of Queen Elizabeth I,
his ship "The Golden Hinde"
anchored in Comox harbor.
There, the town was named
in British Columbia.
Afterward, back home, Drake defeated the entire Spanish armada in his famous ship.
Courtneys moved West in wagons as pioneers, and still own ranches and property in
Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, and elsewhere.
This author is a direct descendent of the Missouri Courtneys.
Perhaps now, one may understand why I'm not too impressed with small property
ownership here in the States, or the power and positive action of everyday
mitochondria DNA and the "Y" chromosomes inherited here will
allow me and my heirs to think and view on the high plane of these ancestors.
Exeter Castle is
an interesting Norman stone ringwork fortress, founded by Baldwin de Brionne.
The entrance with its projecting barbican, is an 11th century square three-storey
gatehouse, with above the gate-passage, chambers lit by unusual
triangular-headed windows. Its strong earthworks and curtain wall are flanked by
square and round towers, which command the north-west corner of old town wall.
Sadly in the 18th century, all the remaining medieval buildings inside the walls
were leveled, to make way for the Georgian Assize County Courts. 8 miles south
Powderham Castle and 15 miles north is
Castle is a Norman stone fortress, founded in 1106 by
Richard de Redvers. Early in the 14th century, Hugh de Courtenay transformed the
castle, by encasing a quadrangular court with a curtain wall. Flanked on the
four angles by towers, with the square two-storey gatehouse flanking the east
curtain wall. After Civil War slighting, only three sides of the court and the
two southern angle towers remain. The round tower with a later conical roof is
complete but the larger square tower is ruinous, they stand against the steep
banks of the River Exe, with the other three sides originally having wet
defenses. 15 miles south is
Okehampton Castle is an impressive
stone motte and bailey fortress, founded by Baldwin de Brionne. The Norman motte
with its rock-cut ditch, supports an 11th century two storey square keep, to
which a rectangular block was added in the 14th century. The bailey is entered
through inner and outer square gatehouses, with a narrow barbican passage
in-between. Inside there are the remains of lodgings, kitchens, a chapel, a hall
and a solar. The castle, the largest in Devon, stands against the steep banks of
the River Okement, with originally wet defences on the other sides. 8 south-west
Lydford Castle and 19 miles south-west is
(Photos & castle history courtesy CastlesUK.net)
Courtnay, Mathis, Tillman, York, Pevey & Foulks Family Background
Copyright 2005 Gary D. Courtney